At Gagosian, a Powerful Presentation of Georg Baselitz’s Reinterpreted Abstracts

NEW YORK—The experience of viewing an exhibit is amplified exponentially when the space is perfectly suited for the work. Such is the case with the Georg Baselitz show at the Gagosian Gallery on 21st Street. The spacious gallery—with skylights, expansive white walls and a shiny concrete floor—provides an ideal canvas for the large-scale paintings of abstract, bifurcated figures and a pair of African-inspired figurative sculptures.

The canvases are reinterpretations of paintings the German artist completed more than 40 years ago. The gallery describes the earlier works as “fractured” and explains Baselitz’s process for completing the new works thus: “For the past decade, he has painted on the studio floor, crawling across the surface of the canvas as he works. While creating a fluid yet drip-free surface, this method denies him a total view while working; rather he must rely on intuition. Vast and rapidly painted, with swathes of bright, gossamer hues and explosive, meandering lines, these paintings are radical transubstantiations, part-recollection, part-ghost, of their rather opaque, weightier predecessors.”

The exhibit is on view from Feb. 28 to April 7, 2012.

All photos by Arts Observer

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